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January 8, 2006

The Easy Way

By Bill Roggio | January 8, 2006

The Washington Post has printed corrections to the article Bloggers, Money Now Weapons in Information War - U.S. Recruits Advocates to the Front, Pays Iraqi TV Stations for Coverage:

A Dec. 26 article misstated the accreditation of Web journalist Bill Roggio when he was embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq. He was accredited by the Weekly Standard. The article said that Roggio was embedded with the Marines at the time of publication, but Roggio had returned to the United States. The article also described Roggio as a retired soldier; he served four years on active duty and two years with the National Guard, which is short of the 20-year minimum for retirement.

The Washington Post has rightly corrected the record on the three minor factual errors, but has chosen to ignore the larger issues: how was my media accreditation any different from that of any other reporter who has been embedded, including those at The Washington Post; and why was my reporting “folded... into a story about military propaganda”, as Ron Brynaert, of the left-of-center webzine The Raw Story, states. Or, as The National Review's Stephen Spruiell puts it, “used recent news reports about U.S. military information operations to try to discredit... a pro-U.S. Blogger.”

This isn't a matter of a blogger raging against the media. This isn't an issue of left versus right, or a supposed conservative writer versus a perceived liberal newspaper. Despite any disagreement I have with Jonathan Finer and Douglas Struck's article, I continue to read the The Washington Post and source their articles within my work. For example, consider my latest article on the reaction of Sunnis towards the suicide attack on a police recruiting center in Ramadi.

The issue is purely a matter of fairness; a matter of correcting the record on a blatantly misleading article about the nature of my embed in Iraq.

I've received numerous emails from self proclaimed “liberals”, “progressives” and “pretty-far left persons” dissatisfied with the Washington Post. While the authors openly state they disagree with my position on the war, they agree the Washington Post's was highly misleading and unjust. The following two examples are characteristic of the emails I have received:

As a pretty-far left person, I'd like to offer my sympathies for the slam by the Washington Post. It was totally uncalled for--any reader of your blog can tell right away that your reporting, whether one disagrees with it or not, is sincere and done to the best of your abilities and knowledge. I'm not sure why they used you as an example for 'propaganda' when your writing is done independently of anyone's financial support.

And:

I saw an article over on rawstory.com today about your experiences with the Washington Post misrepresenting your actions with respect to going to Iraq. You would think that with all the criticism of the mainstream media from BOTH the Right and the Left, they would start getting their act together, but no. At the very least, they could correct their errors. As a liberal, I was glad to see the progressive Raw Story write about the misrepresentation of you by the Post.

When challenged by readers from all segments of the political spectrum, the Washington Post responded by offering “the very least” in making simple corrections, and skirted the real flaw of the article: there was absolutely no association between my embed and any military information operation as both the title and the body of the article imply.

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